Peter Ivens, "Sibbald Flats," 2005, oil on mahogany.
Elevation Gallery, Canmore
April 28 – May 13, 2007
By Jill Sawyer
Peter Ivens says that it’s no surprise that landscape should figure so prominently in his work. In discussing his upcoming exhibition of 25 oil paintings, this Calgary-based artist says that, while he’s an outdoor enthusiast, the land goes beyond something to look at, and in fact shapes our identity in the West. “I think it’s a defining characteristic of who we are — we place ourselves in it, and measure ourselves by it,” he says. “Out here we have to accommodate it, rather than vice versa.” In the 1980s, Ivens quit a lucrative career in graphic design to go back to school, graduating with a BFA from the University of Alberta in 1987. His design past may still influence his painting, “but I’ve managed to shake most of it loose,” he says with a laugh. His paintings reflect his varied background, though — his mountains, valleys, and rivers are precise in their composition, and yet Ivens takes liberty with colour and application of paint. A single stroke of dark paint will sometimes represent a change in the topography or light. “My work certainly has interpretive expression,” Ivens says, “but I’m always interested in the landscape.”
Represented by: Elevation Gallery, Canmore, AB.